Zombie apocalypse. Random meteor collision. Electromagnetic pulse from the Sun. Or maybe just a crashed hard drive that has no backup. But don’t forget volcanoes. Or vampires!
These are just a few examples of things that can potentially interrupt your normal flow of business. Some of those examples are less likely to happen than others (I mean who doesn’t backup their hard drive these days?), but the most likely cause of a business disaster might just be the least expected eventuality.
What Is Disaster Recovery?
Disaster recovery is the plan for, and execution of, restoring mission-critical business functions following any type of disaster. Zombies aside, what if your data center was to actually catch fire and be destroyed. How long before you could restore service to your customers, and do you even have a plan in the event of a worst-case scenario?
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. Accidents happen. Clearly pandemics also happen, which has loosely translated into a slow-motion disaster recovery scenario on a global scale; many businesses had to figure out how to continue to provide service under an atypical and unprecedented set of circumstances. This is the fundamental idea behind disaster recovery.
Hope For The Best, Plan For The Worst
Although it is rarely (if ever) spoken of publicly, all larger businesses have disaster recovery plans. Normally, these plans consist of:
- Multiple (daily / weekly / monthly) data backups physically stored at entirely separate geographic locations.
- Third-party data center or colocation space (generally at least a few hundred miles away from their main business location), containing the necessary hardware to re-establish mission-critical business operations from the aforementioned backups in the event of a disaster.
- Clearly identified team members who would be dispatched to the off-site location with the knowledge and expertise to restore all mission-critical business functions in as little time as possible.
These businesses will then periodically run actual disaster recovery drills, sending team members to the designated data center with only their data backups. The team then attempts to fully restore all business operation within the controlled environment, effectively making a micro version of their company’s entire data infrastructure. This is the only way to know, with certainty, that business could actually be restored in the event of a catastrophic occurrence.
Why Does Disaster Recovery Matter?
Fundamentally, the value of a disaster recovery plan is equal to the value of your data plus the ability to restore business operations following any catastrophic occurrence. For smaller businesses, an event of this nature might not be something where you would put business before, say, family or other matters. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t something to be learned from the way in which large businesses handle emergencies.
If you don’t currently maintain backups of your important data, then you really should start immediately. The price of external hard drives is very reasonable these days, around $100USD for 4TB of capacity. Don’t just trust “the cloud,” always maintain your own physical backup of any critical data.
An ounce of prevention will always be worth a pound of cure; keep your data, and your business, safe. Consider your own disaster recovery plan today.